If you're just joining us, we're on an extended excursion in Vancouver, BC. The series of posts is much longer than our trip--only four days. Scroll down to the first post "Vancouver, Canada" (no number) to join us at the beginning.
This isn't a travelogue, however. I'm sharing how different another city looks, one we know fairly well, when seen through new eyes, the eyes of ministry with folks whose life is near or on the streets.
That said, when was the last time you looked around the place you live? No, I mean REALLY looked around? Looked around through the eyes of a visitor or tourist? Try it sometime. Try it this week in your own city or town. Go to places you don't ordinarily go and simply see through new eyes the people and the little culture quirks you've sailed right by before.
Like that shop of trinkets in Chinatown. What kind of world even makes something like that little plastic doll with blue hair and a slingshot for bikini bottoms? What kind of city or state or world lets families get kicked out of their jobs or their housing and live on the street? What kind of society discharges women from psych treatment in a hospital when there is a 2-3 month wait for housing? Which is crazier, the plastic doll or the DC from psychiatric care with no place to go?
So.... Did you ever watch any shows on TV sponsored by Ovaltine? Have you ever had any? I'm not sure I have. We mostly drank chocolate milk made with Hershey's syrup when I was a kid. Or we made Postum. I remember dipping white toast with butter into the cup of Postum. Had to pull it out quick and eat it, or the bread would fall apart. Postum was made as a grain-based substitute for coffee that was hard to get during WWII. Personally, I think it's way better than instant coffee. Yucko! Is instant coffee even made anymore?
Oooops! Who said whatever that got somebody's buns so steamed anyway? I hope it wasn't me! But at least they're the best ones in town. Now, if you're gonna get your buns steamed, might as well do it up right. No half a---d buns here!
Or is it, "Well, they're here. So it's time we moved in next door and got to know them." ?????
Like I said, have you ever really looked at your neighborhood, your city, your culture through a visitor's eyes? How about your church? How about if the visitor was not just another American like you but from another country? What would they see? How welcome would they be?
Has anything changed in the neighborhood where you live? Any new people, foods, cultures, languages, poverty, unemployment? Is the attitude of our faith group "Well, we're here. They can find us if they want to."
Do our churches effectively have bars over the doors and windows just like the market above? Remember, the people inside cannot see the bars. But people outside sure can. Look closely, and think about what you see. Either on the street or in your church. Maybe both.
More from Vancouver still to come. Much more. Fun stuff. Stay tuned.